We don’t look for ways to avoid what God has instructed us to do, but we seek his guidance for the will he has for our lives, and ask for his assistance in bringing those things to pass.
Religion is the concept of right and wrong by which we are taught. It shows the details, the outline, and gives the application and understanding of our existence, while relationship allows us to boldly enter the very presence of God.

One does not eliminate the other, nor can we say because I have a relationship, I don’t need religion. Having a relationship does not remove the commands and directions that God has instructed us to follow.  John 14:15 states “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
We cannot disregard religion and toss it aside aimlessly in an excuse to cover sin, but we must understand that if we truly love God, and desire a relationship with him, we must listen to and follow him.

Minister Larissa Carter is an Associate Minister at St. John C.M.E. church wher she is also the youth sponser. She currenlty serves as the CYAM chaplin, and youth and young adult chaplin of the Oklahoma District. She has been featured twice as a guest writer for peace and praise daily blog, http://www.peaceandpraise.blogspot.com/

Religion is man-made; the Gospel is God-given” - anonymous author.

Religion is the belief in and worship of a supernatural power, and the details of that belief as taught or discussed. The definition of relationship is the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

Often times when the topic of religion and relationship are discussed, it is in the form of good guy (relationship) vs. bad guy (religion).  Religion receives negative connotations and separation from daily living while the concept of relationship is more favorable.

As we explore the concept and application of purposeful living, we must understand that religion and relationship both have a purpose in our daily activities. Purposeful living is aimed at living life on one accord with God, allowing our actions to be intentional and most importantly pleasing to God. 

Purposeful Living through Religion and Relationship

Week 1 - April 15, 2012

Rev. Amina S. McIntyre is an Atlanta based playwright and creative worship artist in the CME Church. She posts inspirations twice weekly on her blog, Peace and Praise, at www.peaceandpraise.blogspot.com.

When God Says, "No."

Week 2 - April 22, 2012

Ever want something so much you could taste it?  It may be a high mark on a paper, a position at a company, that new car or the person of your dreams.  It is disappointing when the dream does not come to fruition; you do only average on the paper, someone else was chosen for the position, your parents buy the car you coveted or the person who owns your heart falls in love with someone else.  It is saddening to experience God’s refusal, and the experience brings other emotions, often directed specifically to the source of our agony.   “Why can’t I have that?” we demand of God, like children in a tantrum, wanting an explanation of the decision, ignoring the many other blessings we have received. Still, in the silence that often follows, we mourn, not fully understanding the outcome.

King David wanted so much to build a temple to fulfill the ark of the covenant, but God would not allow this to pass.  Yes, it was partly because King David was being punished for his war deeds and his blatant disrespect of God’s commandments in lusting for another man’s wife.

He visibly and very publically mourned the loss of this many times over with the curse over his first son with Bathsheba and the death of Absalom.  But, it may also have been that King David was never to have that glory in his lifetime – it just may not have been his role.  Instead, he becomes the main investor and visionary for the Temple project that is later fulfilled by his son, Solomon.
When God closes a door, consider that God is opening another opportunity. The lower mark on that paper may redirect you into a subject closer to your interests.  The position, you could find, may have stifled your gifts, locking you into a covenant with the company that would have wasted your time.   Your income may change in a way that you would have no longer been able to afford the note of the car. And the person of your dreams may not have been able to support your ministry, whatever your calling is, in the future.  Colossians 1:17 reads, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Perhaps God’s saying “No” is merely a way to widen your perspective, an invitation to narrow the focus on your anointing and see, more clearly, the calling on your life.

Rev. Raphael Terry is Pastor of the Glenn Chapel CME Church in Columbus, MS. You can find him sharing his unique brand of humor and wisdom daily on twitter: @raphaelterry

Week 3 - April 29, 2012

Started from the Bottom...Now I'm Here

“Started from the bottom now we’re here. Started from the bottom now my whole team’s here!” Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” is about humble beginnings, overcoming obstacles, and rising to the top through hard work and dedication, both individually and as a team. I compare this to my own life’s journey. I had humble beginnings; obstacles, and by the grace of God I’ve made it to my current place in life through perseverance. However, my story deviates from Drake’s chorus. Yes, I started at the bottom with some people, but truth be told most of those individuals aren’t here with me now.

Some people were “seasonal contributors” to the chapters of my life and were never meant to be with me always. God allowed them entrance into my life with a purpose; and when their season was over, He proceeded to show them the exit door OUT of my life. Some of the seasonal contributors you meet at the bottom will still be there long after you’ve moved on, and they honestly have no intention of leaving that spot; that’s unacceptable for someone that aspires for greatness. Check your team and discern between the solid covenant friends and seasonal contributors.

My “bottom” wasn’t a one-time event that marked the beginning of my journey, but I’ve in fact experienced numerous “bottoms” in my life when all seemed lost and there was nowhere to look but up. It was in those times that God met me at my worst to propel me toward my best. In the bottoms of my life I learned who my real friends were, and experienced firsthand the awesome power of God. It was the long nights in the bottoms of my life that I pressed through to see the joy that was promised to me in the morning.

Phillipians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Whatever your bottom may be; or wherever your bottom may present itself. Whoever is with you through your storms; or However the Master chooses to separate your covenant friends from seasonal contributors. You must praise God and walk in the truth that YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM! When it’s all said and done; after you’ve endured the tests that will ultimately become your greatest testimonies; you can look back over your life and boldly declare “I started from the bottom..Now I’m HERE”

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